Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How the International Space Station and Automatic Identification System (AIS) saved a man lost at sea link

The Vessel-ID System investigation on the International Space Station demonstrated the ability for a space-based radio receiver to track a ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) signal, the marine equivalent of the air traffic control system.

From Redorbit by Laura Niles

The Vessel-ID System investigation on the space station demonstrated the ability for an orbit-based radio receiver to track a ship’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) signal.
The AIS signal is the marine equivalent of the air traffic control system.
The Norwegian User Support and Operation Centre in Trondheim, Norway, receives the data for near-continuous evaluation.
The Vessel-ID System is installed on the European Space Agency’s Columbus module.

Since being turned on in 2010, Vessel-ID has been able to relay more than 400,000 ship position reports from more than 22,000 ships in a single day, greatly advancing the ship tracking ability of coast guards around the world.
This ability, coupled with multiple AIS tracking satellites launched since, is providing safer travel among the waves for thousands of ships around the globe.
The ship identification and tracking system technology already aided in orienting rescue services for a lone survivor stranded in the North Sea, giving new hope to once impossible situations.

“This brought a whole new dimension to the monitoring of ship traffic on the open oceans,” said Terje Wahl, of the Norwegian Space Centre.
“This project demonstrates that the International Space Station is not just for science and astronauts, but it really benefits mankind with down-to-Earth applications.”

AISSat-1 Real-time (RT) coverage area (1 year of data)

FFI has performed a feasibility study on space-based reception of AIS messages.
The results show a ship detection probability of near 100% for up to 1000 ships within the coverage area, and a signal power margin of 10 to 20 dB for a standard AIS receiver.
A space-based AIS receiver will cover Norwegian waters up to 15 times a day in the northern region, and more than 8 times a day in the south.
The data will include ship identity, position, speed, bearing, etc, and make it possible to track a high number of ships.
A constellation of four satellites will give global coverage approximately every hour.
To overcome saturation problems for more than 1000 ships, a study on an optimized system for global surveillance was done and presented to the International Maritime Organization.
This slightly modified AIS system can be an option for Long- Range Identification and Tracking.
Links :


Monday, September 1, 2014

UK & misc. update in the Marine GeoGarage link

As our public viewer is not yet available
(currently under construction, upgrading to Google Maps API v3 as v2 is officially no more supported),
this info is primarily intended to our B2B customers which use our nautical charts layers in their own webmapping applications through our GeoGarage API.

Today 952 charts (1813 including sub-charts) from UKHO
are available in the 'UK & misc.' chart layer
regrouping charts for different countries :
  1. UK
  2. Argentina
  3. Belgium
  4. Netherlands
  5. Croatia
  6. Oman
  7. Portugal
  8. Spain
  9. Iceland
  10. South Africa
  11. Malta
 3 charts have been withdrawn (1167, 2020, 3265) since the last update
and 2 charts have been added (3291, 3583)

636 charts for UK
(1167 Burry Inlet,
2020 Harbours and Anchorages in the BVI,
3265 Weligama to Little Basses Reef
3583 South Atlantic Ocean, South Georgia, Cooper Sound to Drygalski Fjord

24 charts for Argentina :

  • 226    International Chart Series, Antarctica - South Shetlands Islands, Deception Island.
  • 227    Church Point to Cape Longing including James Ross Island
  • 531    Plans on the Coast of Argentina
  • 552    Plans on the Coast of Argentina
  • 557    Mar del Plata to Comodoro Rivadavia
  • 1302    Cabo Guardian to Punta Nava
  • 1331    Argentina, Approaches to Bahia Blanca
  • 1332    Isla de los Estados and Estrecho de le Maire
  • 1751    Puerto de Buenos Aires
  • 1982B    Rio Parana - Rosario to Parana
  • 2505    Approaches to the Falkland Islands
  • 2517    North-Western Approaches to the Falkland Islands
  • 2519    South-Western Approaches to the Falkland Islands
  • 3065    Punta Piedras to Quequen
  • 3066    Quequen to Rio Negro
  • 3067    Rio Negro to Isla Leones
  • 3106    Isla Leones to Pto San Julian
  • 3213    Plans in Graham Land
  • 3560    Gerlache Strait  Northern Part
  • 3566    Gerlache Strait  Southern Part
  • 3755    Bahia Blanca
  • 4063    Bellingshausen Sea to Valdivia
  • 4200    Rio de la Plata to Cabo de Hornos
  • 4207    Falkland Islands to Cabo Corrientes and Northeast Georgia Rise
27 charts for Belgium & Nederlands :

  • 99 Entrances to Rivers in Guyana and Suriname
  • 110 Westkapelle to Stellendam and Maasvlakte
  • 112 Terschellinger Gronden to Harlingen
  • 120 Westerschelde - Vlissingen to Baalhoek and Gent - Terneuzen Canal
  • 122 Approaches to Europoort and Hoek van Holland
  • 124 Noordzeekanaal including Ijmuiden, Zaandam and Amsterdam
  • 125 North Sea Netherlands - Approaches to Scheveningen and Ijmuiden
  • 126 North Sea, Netherlands, Approaches to Den Helder
  • 128 Westerschelde, Valkenisse to Wintam
  • 207 Hoek Van Holland to Vlaardingen
  • 208 Rotterdam, Nieuwe Maas and Oude Maas
  • 209 Krimpen a/d Lek to Moerdijk
  • 266 North Sea Offshore Charts Sheet 11
  • 572 Essequibo River to Corentyn River
  • 702 Nederlandse Antillen, Aruba and Curacao
  • 1187 Outer Silver Pit
  • 1408 North Sea, Harwich and Rotterdam to Cromer and Terschelling.
  • 1412 Caribbean Sea - Nederlandse Antillen, Ports in Aruba and Curacao
  • 1414 Bonaire
  • 1503 Outer Dowsing to Smiths Knoll including Indefatigable Banks.
  • 1504 Cromer to Orford Ness
  • 1546 Zeegat van Texel and Den Helder Roads
  • 1630 West Hinder and Outer Gabbard to Vlissingen and Scheveningen
  • 1631 DW Routes to Ijmuiden and Texel
  • 1632 DW Routes and Friesland Junction to Vlieland
  • 1874 North Sea, Westerschelde, Oostende to Westkapelle
  • 2047 Approaches to Anguilla

13 charts for Croatia :
  • 201 Rt Kamenjak to Novigrad
  • 202 Kvarner, Kvarneric and Velebitski Kanal
  • 269 Ploce and Split with Adjacent Harbours, Channels and Anchorages
  • 515 Zadar to Luka Mali Losinj
  • 680 Dubrovnik
  • 1574 Otok Glavat to Ploce and Makarska
  • 1580 Otocic Veliki Skolj to Otocic Glavat
  • 1996 Ports in Rijecki Zaljev
  • 2711 Rogoznica to Zadar
  • 2712 Otok Susac to Split
  • 2719 Rt Marlera to Senj including Approaches to Rijeka
  • 2773 Sibenik, Pasmanski Kanal, Luka Telascica, Sedmovrace, Rijeka Krka
  • 2774 Otok Vis to Sibenik
 7 charts for Oman :

  • 2853 Gulf of Oman, approaches to Sohar       
  • 2854 Northern approaches to Masirah
  • 3171 Southern Approaches to the Strait of Hormuz
  • 3409 Plans in Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates
  • 3511 Wudam and Approaches
  • 3518 Ports and Anchorages on the North East Coast of Oman
  • 3762 Oman - South East coast, Ad Duqm

125 charts for Spain & Portugal :
(1 chart added, 3291)
  • 45 Gibraltar Harbour
  • 73 Puerto de Huelva and Approaches
  • 83 Ports on the South Coast of Portugal
  • 85 Spain - south west coast, Rio Guadalquivir
  • 86 Bahia de Cadiz
  • 87 Cabo Finisterre to the Strait of Gibraltar
  • 88 Cadiz
  • 89 Cabo de Sao Vicente to Faro
  • 91 Cabo de Sao Vicente to the Strait of Gibraltar
  • 93 Cabo de Santa Maria to Cabo Trafalgar
  • 142 Strait of Gibraltar
  • 144 Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar
  • 307 Angola, Cabeca da Cobra to Cabo Ledo
  • 308 Angola, Cabo Ledo to Lobito
  • 309 Lobito to Ponta Grossa
  • 312 Luanda to Baia dos Tigres
  • 366 Arquipelago de Cabo Verde
  • 469 Alicante
  • 473 Approaches to Alicante
  • 518 Spain East Coast, Approaches to Valencia
  • 562 Mediterranean Sea, Spain - East Coast, Valencia.
  • 580 Al Hoceima, Melilla and Port Nador with Approaches
  • 659 Angola, Port of Soyo and Approaches
  • 690 Cabo Delgado to Mikindani Bay
  • 1094 Rias de Ferrol, Ares, Betanzos and La Coruna
  • 1096 Ribadeo
  • 1110 La Coruna and Approaches
  • 1111 Punta de la Estaca de Bares to Cabo Finisterre
  • 1113 Harbours on the North-West Coast of Spain
  • 1117 Puerto de Ferrol
  • 1118 Ria de Ferrol
  • 1122 Ports on the North Coast of Spain
  • 1133 Ports on the Western Part of the North Coast of Spain
  • 1142 Ria de Aviles
  • 1145 Spain - North Coast, Santander
  • 1150 Ports on the North Coast of Spain
  • 1153 Approaches to Gijon
  • 1154 Spain, north coast, Gijon
  • 1157 Pasaia (Pasajes) and Approaches
  • 1172 Puertos de Bermeo and Mundaka
  • 1173 Spain - North Coast, Bilbao
  • 1174 Approaches to Bilbao
  • 1180 Barcelona
  • 1189 Approaches to Cartagena
  • 1193 Spain - east coast, Tarragona
  • 1194 Cartagena
  • 1196 Approaches to Barcelona
  • 1197 Plans on the West Coast of Africa
  • 1215 Plans on the Coast of Angola
  • 1216 Baia dos Tigres
  • 1290 Cabo de San Lorenzo to Cabo Ortegal
  • 1291 Santona to Gijon
  • 1448 Gibraltar Bay
  • 1453 Gandia
  • 1455 Algeciras
  • 1460 Sagunto
  • 1514 Spain - East Coast, Castellon
  • 1515 Ports on the East Coast of Spain
  • 1589 Almeria
  • 1595 Ilhas do Principe, de Sao Tome and Isla Pagalu
  • 1684 Ilha da Madeira, Manchico and Canical
  • 1685 Ilha de Madeira, Ponta Gorda de Sao Lourenco including the Port of Funchal
  • 1689 Ports in the Arquipelago da Madeira
  • 1701 Cabo de San Antonio to Vilanova I la Geltru including Islas de Ibiza and Formentera
  • 1703 Mallorca and Menorca
  • 1704 Punta de la Bana to Islas Medas
  • 1724 Canal do Geba and Bissau
  • 1726 Approaches to Canal do Geba and Rio Cacheu
  • 1727 Bissau, Bolama and Approaches
  • 1730 Spain - West Coast, Ria de Vigo
  • 1731 Vigo
  • 1732 Spain - West Coast, Ria de Pontevedra
  • 1733 Spain - West Coast, Marin and Pontevedra
  • 1734 Approaches to Ria de Arousa
  • 1740 Livingston Island, Bond Point to Brunow Bay including Juan Carlos 1 Base and Half Moon Island
  • 1755 Plans in Ria de Arousa
  • 1756 Ria de Muros
  • 1762 Vilagarcia de Arosa
  • 1764 Ria de Arousa
  • 1831 Arquipelago da Madeira
  • 1847 Santa Cruz de Tenerife
  • 1850 Approaches to Malaga
  • 1851 Malaga
  • 1854 Motril and Adra
  • 1856 Approaches to Puerto de La Luz (Las Palmas)
  • 1858 Approaches to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Puerto de San Sebastian de la Gomera, Santa Cruz de la Palma and Approaches
  • 1861 North Atlantic Ocean – Islas Canarias, Gran Canaria to El Hierro 
  • 1862 North Atlantic Ocean – Islas Canarias, Lanzarote to Cabo Bojador  
  • 1863 Islas Canarias, Puerto de los Marmoles to Puerto del Rosario  
  • 1895 Ilha de Sao Miguel
  • 1950 Arquipelago dos Acores
  • 1956 Arquipelago dos Acores  Central Group
  • 1957 Harbours in the Arquipelago Dos Acores (Central Group)
  • 1959 Flores,Corvo and Santa Maria with Banco Das Formigas
  • 2742 Cueta
  • 2761 Menorca
  • 2762 Menorca, Mahon
  • 2831 Punta Salinas to Cabo de Formentor including Canal de Menorca
  • 2832 Punta Salinas to Punta Beca including Isla de Cabrera
  • 2834 Ibiza and Formentera
  • 2932 Cabo de Sao Sebastiao to Beira
  • 2934 Africa - east coast, Mozambique, Beira to Rio Zambeze
  • 2935 Quelimane to Ilha Epidendron
  • 3034 Approaches to Palma
  • 3035 Palma
  • 3220 Entrance to Rio Tejo including Baia de Cascais
  • 3221 Lisboa, Paco de Arcos to Terreiro do Trigo
  • 3222 Lisboa, Alcantara to Canal do Montijo
  • 3224 Approaches to Sines
  • 3227 Aveiro and Approaches
  • 3228 Approaches to Figueira da Foz
  • 3257 Viana do Castelo and Approaches
  • 3258 Approaches to Leixoes and Barra do Rio Douro
  • 3259 Approaches to Setubal
  • 3260 Carraca to Ilha do Cavalo
  • 3291 Angola, (Cabinda), Cabinda and Malongo Terminals   NEW 
  • 3448 Plans in Angola
  • 3578 Eastern Approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar
  • 3633 Islas Sisargas to Rio Mino
  • 3634 Montedor to Cabo Mondego
  • 3635 Cabo Mondego to Cabo Espichel
  • 3636 Cabo Espichel to Cabo de Sao Vicente
  • 3764 Cabo Torinana to Punta Carreiro
  • 4114 Arquipelago dos Acores to Flemish Cap
  • 4115 Arquipelago dos Acores to the Arquipelago de Cabo Verde

14 charts for Iceland :

  • 2733 Dyrholaey to Snaefellsjokull
  • 2734 Approaches to Reykjavik
  • 2735 Iceland - South West Coast, Reykjavik
  • 2897 Iceland
  • 2898 Vestfirdir
  • 2899 Iceland, Noth Coast, Horn to Rauoinupur
  • 2900 Iceland, North East Coast, Rauoinupur to Glettinganes
  • 2901 Iceland, East Coast, Glettinganes to Stokksnes
  • 2902 Stokksnes to Dyrholaey
  • 2955 Iceland, North Coast, Akureyri
  • 2956 Iceland, North Coast, Eyjafjordur
  • 2937 Hlada to Glettinganes
  • 2938 Reydarfjordur
  • 4112 North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland to Greenland

48 charts for South Africa :

  • 578    Cape Columbine to Cape Seal
  • 632    Hollandsbird Island to Cape Columbine
  • 643    Durban Harbour
  • 665    Approaches to Zanzibar
  • 1236    Saldanha Bay
  • 1806    Baia dos Tigres to Conception Bay
  • 1846    Table Bay Docks and Approaches
  • 1922    RSA - Simon's Bay
  • 2078    Port Nolloth to Island Point
  • 2095    Cape St Blaize to Port S. John's
  • 3211    Zanzibar Harbour
  • 3793    Shixini Point to Port S Johns
  • 3794    Port S Johns to Port Shepstone
  • 3795    Port Shepstone to Cooper Light
  • 3797    Green Point to Tongaat Bluff
  • 3859    Cape Cross to Conception Bay
  • 3860    Mutzel Bay to Spencer Bay
  • 3861    Namibia, Approaches to Luderitz
  • 3869    Hottentot Point to Chamais Bay
  • 3870    Chamais Bay to Port Nolloth
  • 4132    Kunene River to Sand Table Hill
  • 4133    Sand Table Hill to Cape Cross
  • 4136    Harbours on the West Coasts of Namibia and South Africa
  • 4141    Island Point to Cape Deseada
  • 4142    Saldanha Bay Harbour
  • 4145    Approaches to Saldanha Bay
  • 4146    Cape Columbine to Table Bay
  • 4148    Approaches to Table Bay
  • 4150    Republic of South Africa, South West Coast, Table Bay to Valsbaai
  • 4151    Cape Deseada to Table Bay
  • 4152    Republic of South Africa, South West Coast, Table Bay to Cape Agulhas
  • 4153    Republic of South Africa, South Coast, Cape Agulhas to Cape St. Blaize
  • 4154    Mossel Bay
  • 4155    Cape St Blaize to Cape St Francis
  • 4156    South Africa, Cape St Francis to Great Fish Point
  • 4157    South Africa, Approaches to Port Elizabeth
  • 4158    Republic of South Africa - South Coast, Plans in Algoa Bay.
  • 4159    Great Fish Point to Mbashe Point
  • 4160    Ngqura Harbour
  • 4162    Approaches to East London
  • 4163    Republic of South Africa, South East Coast, Mbashe Point to Port Shepstone
  • 4170    Approaches to Durban
  • 4171    Republic of South Africa – South East Coast, Port Shepstone to Tugela River
  • 4172    Tugela River to Ponta do Ouro
  • 4173    Approaches to Richards Bay
  • 4174    Richards Bay Harbour
  • 4205    Agulhas Plateau to Discovery Seamounts
  • 4700    Port Elizabeth to Mauritius 
    5 charts for Malta :

    • 36 Marsaxlokk
    • 177 Valletta Harbours
    • 211 Plans in the Maltese Islands
    • 2537 Ghawdex (Gozo), Kemmuna (Comino) and the Northern Part of Malta
    • 2538 Malta

    55 international charts from NGA
  •  3 Chagos Archipelago
  • 82 Outer Approaches to Port Sudan
  • 100 Raas Caseyr to Suqutra
  • 255 Eastern Approaches to Jamaica
  • 256 Western Approaches to Jamaica
  • 260 Pedro Bank to the South Coast of Jamaica
  • 333 Offshore Installations in the Gulf of Suez
  • 334 North Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda
  • 386 Yadua Island to Yaqaga Island
  • 390 Bahamas, Grand Bahama Island, Approaches to Freeport
  • 398 Grand Bahama Island, Freeport Roads, Freeport Harbour
  • 457 Portland Bight
  • 462 The Cayman Islands
  • 486 Jamaica and the Pedro Bank
  • 501 South East Approaches to Trinidad
  • 700 Maiana to Marakei
  • 868 Eastern and Western Approaches to The Narrows including Murray's Anchorage
  • 920 Chagos Archipelago, Diego Garcia
  • 928 Sulu Archipelago
  • 959 Colson Point to Belize City including Lighthouse Reef and Turneffe Islands
  • 1043 Saint Lucia to Grenada and Barbados
  • 1225 Gulf of Campeche
  • 1265 Approaches to Shatt Al 'Arab or Arvand Rud, Khawr Al Amaya and Khawr Al Kafka
  • 1450 Turks and Caicos Islands, Turks Island Passage and Mouchoir Passage
  • 1638 Plans in Northern Vanuatu
  • 2009 Sheet 2  From 23 deg 40 min North Latitude to Old Bahama Channel
  • 2065 Northern Antigua
  • 2133 Approaches to Suez Bay (Bahr el Qulzum)
  • 2373 Bahr el Qulzum (Suez Bay) to Ras Sheratib
  • 2374 Ra's Sharatib to Juzur Ashrafi
  • 2658 Outer Approaches to Mina` al Jeddah (Jiddah)
  • 2837 Strait of Hormuz to Qatar
  • 2847 Qatar to Shatt al `Arab
  • 3043 Red Sea, Ports on the coast of Egypt.
  • 3102 Takoradi and Sekondi Bays
  • 3175 Jazirat al Hamra' to Dubai (Dubayy) and Jazireh-ye Sirri
  • 3179 UAE and Qatar, Jazirat Das to Ar Ru' Ays
  • 3310 Africa - east coast, Mafia Island to Pemba Island
  • 3361 Wasin Island to Malindi
  • 3432 Saltpond to Tema
  • 3493 Red Sea - Sudan, Bashayer Oil Terminals and Approaches.
  • 3519 Southern Approaches to Masirah
  • 3520 Khawr Kalba and Dawhat Diba to Gahha Shoal
  • 3522 Approaches to Masqat and Mina' al Fahl
  • 3530 Approaches to Berbera
  • 3709 Gulf of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Port of Fujairah (Fujayrah) and Offshore Terminals.
  • 3723 Gulf of Oman, United Arab Emirates, Approaches to Khawr Fakkan and Fujairah (Fujayrah).
  • 3785 Mina' Raysut to Al Masirah
  • 3907 Bahama Islands and Hispaniola, Passages between Mayaguana Island and Turks and Caicos Islands.
  • 3908 Passages between Turks and Caicos Islands and Dominican Republic
  • 3910 Little Bahama Bank including North West Providence Channel
  • 3912 Bahamas, North East Providence Channel and Tongue of the Ocean
  • 3913 Bahamas, Crooked Island Passage and Exuma Sound
  • 3914 Turks and Caicos Islands and Bahamas, Caicos Passage and Mayaguana Passage
  • 3951 Sir Bani Yas to Khawr al `Udayd


The millionaires who rescue people at sea link

Each year, thousands of migrants try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe from north Africa - but many of them do not survive the journey.
Almost 2,000 migrants have died in these waters since the start of the year, 1,600 of them since the beginning of June, according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.
Now a philanthropist couple from Malta have launched what they say is the world's first privately funded boat to help migrants in trouble at sea.

From BBC

A philanthropist couple have launched what they say is the world's first privately funded vessel to help migrants in trouble at sea.
But can one ship really help the thousands of people who try to cross the Mediterranean each year?

"Our primary aim is to prevent loss of life at sea, not to ferry migrants from one point to another… we will follow the laws of the sea which oblige all vessels to help in case of distress,"
say MOAS founders

Last summer, Regina Catrambone and her husband Chris were on board a yacht cruising around the Mediterranean - but the idyllic holiday scene was interrupted when they spotted something in the sea.
"My husband and I were on the deck and we saw a winter jacket floating in the water, like a ghost," says Regina.
They asked the captain how it ended up there.
"His face became very dark and he said probably the person who was wearing it is not with us any more. That started to trigger our attention."
They realised it had probably belonged to one of the thousands of migrants who try to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe - 1,889 have died in these waters since the start of the year, 1,600 of them since the beginning of June, according to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.
The defining moment for the couple came soon after, when they saw Pope Francis on television, calling on entrepreneurs to help those in need.
"We looked at each other, me and my husband, and we said: 'Let's do something.'
From this moment came the idea of buying a boat and doing something in the Mediterranean, where people are dying every day."

483 gross tonnage / 39.9m by 9.4m / Built 1973
Flies under flag of Belize
Originally a fishing trawler, later used as a research vessel, then by US government for training
Customised flight deck replaces tow bar, which can be reinstalled
16 crew members for MOAS missions, including observers

By October, when the Catrambones heard how more than 360 migrants had drowned near the Italian island of Lampedusa, they were determined to turn their plans into action.
Since then the couple, who are in their 30s, have drawn deeply from their own pockets to fund a highly-sophisticated ship, the Phoenix, based in Malta, where they live.
It has dinghies and two state-of-the art drones which they are using to find and help migrants trying to enter Europe by boat, mostly from Africa.

"The Mediterranean is one of the busiest seaways in the world, as well as a dangerous sea frontier for migrants and asylum seekers en route to southern Europe. In view of the perils UNHCR again calls on all vessels at sea to be on alert for migrants and refugees in need of rescue. We also renew our call to all shipmasters in the Mediterranean to remain vigilant and to carry out their duty of rescuing vessels in distress."

They have named their operation Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).
But while some ships begin life on the sea with a bottle of champagne smashed against their hull, the Phoenix began its time as an aid station for migrant ships by having holy water sprinkled inside it.
During a Catholic mass, held in the ship's lounge the day before the Phoenix embarked on its first patrol on Monday, a priest told the assembled crew that they are on a mission from God.
He gave each of them a small bottle of holy water from Lourdes and gave the ship a golden crucifix to carry out on the Mediterranean.
The service was "very important for my husband and me, and for the crew to have spiritual support before they leave, because they will be weeks at sea so they will need God's help," says Regina, who is Italian.

Campcopter S-100
The camcopter, weighting 200kg, can do six hours at a stretch and can cover 200km per hour, operated within a maximum range of 100km.
The camcopter, equipped with infrared cameras, can also send clear images during the night with a camera so sharp it can actually read what’s written on the palm of a hand.

Her husband Chris, who is from New Orleans in the US, proudly shows off the custom-made flight deck, home to two Schiebel S-100 camcopters, or drones, which MOAS has leased.
He explains how their HD-quality, night vision and thermal imaging cameras are powerful enough to read a piece of paper in a passenger's hand from the air.
"We are making history in many ways by being the first civilian ship to use such grand technology. We hope that this is going to change the environment for rescue at sea. We're innovators here. We're trying to do something that no-one else has been able to do. We've put our money where our mouth is," he says.

When the ship comes across a migrant boat in international waters, the crew will contact the nearest authorities.
"We will communicate the position of the boat in distress to the authority and we will wait for what they tell us to do," says Regina.
While they wait for instructions, they will use the dinghies to approach the boats, pass over food, water and lifejackets and offer medical assistance - the Phoenix has a paramedic on board and also has a well-equipped medical bay.
"However, in case the boat is taking water, or the number of the people [on board] is higher than should be, we will communicate that to the authorities and we will do what needs to be done. If we need to take people on board we can, until Malta or Italy come to take them, and disembark them on land."

Regina and Chris will take it in turns to go to sea on the Phoenix.
It may seem naive to think such an operation can be carried out by civilians but the director of the project was, until recently, the commander of the Armed Forces of Malta and members of the crew have experience in the armed forces, maritime rescue and medicine.
The entire project, the couple say, has cost them "millions" with the total running costs of the ship's initial 60-day mission being 2m euros, (£1.59m, $2.64m) which they say is the extent of their budget.
The Catrambones have a group of companies registered in Malta, providing insurance and services to people operating in conflict zones.
They are hoping to crowd source extra funding for MOAS, aside from their own cash, and extend it into an all-year-round operation.

According to the UNHCR, about 19,000 migrants have arrived in Malta from Libya since 2002.
Last year it was estimated that about 30% are still on the island, which has a local population of some 417,000.

Once they are ashore tensions frequently arise, with less than charitable comments about migrants often appearing on Maltese media websites.
No-one from the Maltese government responded to interview requests about MOAS - migration has been a thorny issue for the local authorities, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat saying his country is struggling to cope with the influx.
But he was forced last year to cancel two flights repatriating migrants back to Libya by the European Court of Human Rights.

Maltese columnist Pamela Hansen says the MOAS operation will provoke mixed reactions in Malta, with some being pleased that lives are to be saved, but others being concerned more migrants will arrive as a result.
"Obviously the authorities are going to be very cautious. They are worried because we do have a problem, just as Italy has a problem. The whole of Europe is anxious about this.
"But because we perhaps are the first stage sometimes of where the migrants land, there's a bit more apprehension.
"I don't know what the government's feeling about MOAS, but what I can tell you is there's a lot of public opinion that is anti-illegal immigration, so maybe the authorities are being rather cautious before they comment."

 The Italian Navy brought to shore over 200 Syrian migrants, 49 women and 73 children, after a delicate rescue operation on the Strait of Sicily

While Regina is diplomatic about MOAS's "ongoing" dialogue with the local authorities, she does reveal the Phoenix is flying under the flag of Belize because the process of getting a Maltese registration was "taking too long".
But she bristles at suggestions that the couple's cash should be deployed another way, perhaps to help migrants once they disembark.
"There are NGOs doing that on land, but not at sea," she says.
She mentions Mare Nostrum, the Italian navy and coastguard's search-and-rescue operation, launched after the October Lampedusa drownings.
Doubt had been cast upon its long-term future, and now the EU and Italy have just announced the formation of Frontex Plus, an extension of its current border management scheme, to take over from Mare Nostrum in November.
One migrant who did make it to Malta is 24-year-old Ibrahim Ahmed Adam, who arrived from Somalia via Libya in May 2012.
"My boat broke down on the sea, and if I had not been rescued it would have been the last journey of my life.
"So I can understand deeply the meaning the MOAS operation has for people at sea. It's a very good step."

Links :
  • DailyMail : Millionaire couple follow Pope's call to help desperate migrants - and save hundreds of Syrians and Palestinians sinking in the Mediterranean
  • TimesofMalta : MOAS rescue mission saves its first migrants (250 Syrian and Palestinians including 40 children saved)


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bruce Kirkby : the questions we ask link

In this award-winning short film, he contemplates the true meaning of adventure. 

In the spring of 2013, Canadian adventurer Bruce Kirkby crossed the Georgia Straight on an inflatable standup paddleboard (SUP).

"Last summer I paddled SUP from Vancouver to Victoria — a journey of 150 kilometres and 5 days — and  convinced young filmaker Kalum Ko to take a week off highschool and tag along.
The resulting film, which blends my spoken-word narration with KK’s gorgeous visual, evolved from my belief that it wasn’t the specific SUP journey that mattered so much as the though process that lead me to attempt the big crossing.
Ultimately, we explore what adventure is, and why it still matters today.  "


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kite sailing link

Kite Sailing the Isle of Wight
- Kite Tender - Worlds first commercial kite boat? 

Links :
  • YouTube : K2 Kitefoiler in San Francisco Bay, 2013


Friday, August 29, 2014

A closer look at turbulent oceans and greenhouse heating link

Adventure = Disaster that didn’t quite happen.
A few such events when sailing Indian Ocean in 1980 and 1984
(i.e. storm front with waterspout, Andrew C. Revkin with Lon Bubeck on sailboat Rashika, near Maldives).

From NYTimes by Andrew C Revkin

Earth’s climate is shaped by the interplay of two complicated and turbulent systems — the atmosphere and oceans.
(The photo above is from the two years I spent at that interface as crew on ocean-roaming sailboats.) The oceans hold the majority of heat in the system, are full of sloshy cycles on time scales from years to decades and, despite an increase in monitoring using sophisticated diving buoys, remain only spottily tracked.

It’s no wonder, then, that assessing the mix of forces shaping short-term wiggles in global and regional atmospheric temperature (years to decades) remains a daunting exercise.
That’s why it’s worth stepping back after weeks of news about studies of the role of oceans in retarding, and sometimes accelerating, global warming to reflect a bit on the difference between edge-pushing analysis and firm scientific conclusions.
What’s firmly established is that the climate is warming, that the buildup of human-generated heat-trapping greenhouse gases is contributing substantially to the warming and that while the buildup of gases is steady, the rise in temperatures is not.
There’s been a burst of worthy research aimed at figuring out what causes the stutter-steps in the process — including the current hiatus/pause/plateau that has generated so much discussion.
The oceans are high on the long list of contributors, given their capacity to absorb heat.
The recent studies have pointed variously to process in the Pacific and Atlantic and Southern oceans (the latter being the extraordinary band of seas in the Southern Hemisphere where winds circulate around the globe unimpeded by continents).
There’s important work to be done on this question but — as the oceanographer Carl Wunsch notes at the end of this post — the paucity of data on ocean heat makes it tough to get beyond “maybe” answers.
Peter Spotts of the Christian Science Monitor wrote a nice piece on the battle of the ocean basins. Here’s his description of the Atlantic mechanism:
[I]n the Atlantic, the heat is carried north as part of a powerful current system known as the Atlantic thermohaline circulation. The north-flowing Gulf Stream is the most visible manifestation of this circulation.
By the time it reaches the far North Atlantic, the dense, salty water has cooled and sinks. It plunges toward the seafloor and heads south at depth, retaining some of the heat it accumulated on the surface.
In a news article in the journal Science, which published the latest paper on the Atlantic’s role in decades-long global temperature fluctuations, Eli Kintisch described the Pacific argument this way: 
[I]n the 17 August Nature Climate Change study, a team led by [Kevin] Trenberth suggests that natural variability in the Pacific explains more than half of the hiatus. Based on data and climate simulations, they argue that a pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which shifts every 20 to 30 years, is driving the increased upwelling as well as other climate trends, including the rapid warming of the Arctic and recent cold winters in Europe.
The newest paper, in the current issue of Science, “Varying planetary heat sink led to global-warming slowdown and acceleration,” argues that the Atlantic not only has shaped the current plateau, but also was responsible for half of the sharp global warming at the end of the 20th century.
The paper, by Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China and Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington, has a remarkably trenchant abstract:
A vacillating global heat sink at intermediate ocean depths is associated with different climate regimes of surface warming under anthropogenic forcing: The latter part of the 20th century saw rapid global warming as more heat stayed near the surface. In the 21st century, surface warming slowed as more heat moved into deeper oceans. In situ and reanalyzed data are used to trace the pathways of ocean heat uptake. In addition to the shallow La Niña–like patterns in the Pacific that were the previous focus, we found that the slowdown is mainly caused by heat transported to deeper layers in the Atlantic and the Southern oceans, initiated by a recurrent salinity anomaly in the subpolar North Atlantic. Cooling periods associated with the latter deeper heat-sequestration mechanism historically lasted 20 to 35 years.
In an e-mail exchange, Ka-Kit Tung noted how this work can help reveal the steady warming in the background that is attributable to human activities:
The underlying anthropogenic warming trend, even with the zero rate of warming during the current hiatus, is 0.08 C per decade.* [That's 0.08 degrees Celsius, or 0.144 degrees Fahrenheit.] However, the flip side of this is that the anthropogenically forced trend is also 0.08 C per decade during the last two decades of the twentieth century when we backed out the positive contribution from the cycle….
This aspect of the work was largely missed in press coverage.
I asked a range of climate and ocean scientists to weigh in on the paper.
Many focused on details of the Atlantic-Pacific debate.
A few took a broader view that’s worth sharing:
Joshua K. Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said this:
In regards to your question, if you mean how robust is the “slowdown” in global surface warming, the answer is it just probably just barely statistically significant. If you are wondering whether is it meaningful in terms of the public discourse about climate change, I would say the answer is no. The basic story of human caused global warming and its coming impacts is still the same: humans are causing it and the future will bring higher sea levels and warmer temperatures, the only questions are: how much and how fast?
As far as the cause of the slowdown, I think there is still some debate, not just about the cause but about the details of what’s going on. For example, there have been several studies including this one to suggest that some deeper layer of the oceans are warming faster now than they were 10 or 15 years ago. This suggestion of an accelerated warming in a deep layer of the ocean has been suggested mostly on the basis of results from reanalyses of different types (that is, numerical simulations of the ocean and atmosphere that are forced to fit observations in some manner). But it is not clear to me, actually, that an accelerated warming of some sub-surface layer of the ocean (at least in the globally-averaged sense) is robustly supported by the data itself.
Until we clear up whether there has been some kind of accelerated warming at depth in the real ocean, I think these results serve as interesting hypotheses about why the rate of surface warming has slowed-down, but we still lack a definitive answer on this topic.
Here’s Andrew Dessler of Texas A&M University:
There are a few interesting things to note here.
First, the hiatus is example of how science works. When it was first observed a few years ago, there were lots of theories — including things like stratospheric water vapor, solar cycles, stratospheric aerosol forcing. After some intense work by of the community, there is general agreement that the main driver is ocean variability. That’s actually quite impressive progress and shows how legitimate uncertainty is handled by the scientific community.
Second, I think it’s important to put the hiatus in context. This is not an existential threat to the mainstream theory of climate. We are not going to find out that, lo and behold, carbon dioxide is not a greenhouse gas and is not causing warming. Rather, I expect that the hiatus will help us understand how ocean variability interacts with the long-term warming that humans are causing. In a few years, as we get to understand this more, skeptics will move on (just like they dropped arguments about the hockey stick and about the surface station record) to their next reason not to believe climate science.
As far as this particular paper goes, I think the findings that the heat is going into the Atlantic and Southern Ocean’s is probably pretty robust. However, I will defer to people like Josh Willis who know the data better than I do.
What’s most exciting to me is that this is really a fascinating conundrum. People like Kevin Trenberth and Kosaka and Xie have published quite convincingly that the action seems to be in the Pacific. So the challenge is to try to resolve that evidence with the ocean heat data that shows that the energy is going into other ocean basins. Ultimately, the challenge come up with the parsimonious theory that fits all of the data.
I do think that ocean variability may have played a role in the lack of warming in the middle of the 20th century, as well as the rapid warming of the 1980s and 1990s. But the argument that the hiatus will last for another decade or two is very weak and I would not put much faith in that. If the cycle has a period of 60-70 years, that means we have one or two cycles of observations. And I don’t think you can much about a cycle with just 1-2 cycles: e.g., what the actual period of the variability is, how regular it is, etc. You really need dozen of cycles to determine what the actual underlying variability looks like. In fact, I don’t think we even know if it IS a cycle.
And this brings up what to me is the real question: how much of the hiatus is pure internal variability and how much is a forced response (from loading the atmosphere with carbon). This paper seems to implicitly take the position that it’s purely internal variability, which I’m not sure is true and might lead to a very different interpretation of the data and estimate of the future.
Thus, their estimate of 1-2 more decades before rapid warming resumes might be right; but, if so, I’d consider them lucky rather than smart.
John Michael Wallace, a professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, offered these thoughts:
Back in 2001 I served as a member of the committee that drafted the National Research Council report, “Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions.” The prevailing view at that time, to which I subscribed, was that the signal of human-induced global warming first clearly emerged from the background noise of natural variability starting in the 1970s and that the observed rate of increase from 1975 onward could be expected to continue into the 21st century. The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, released in 2007, offered a similar perspective, both in the text and in the figures in its Summary for Policymakers.
By that time, I was beginning to have misgivings about this interpretation. It seemed to me that the hiatus in the warming, which by then was approaching ten years in length, should not be dismissed as a statistical fluke. It was as legitimate a part of the record as the rapid rises in global-mean temperature in the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2009 Zhaohua Wu contacted me about a paper that he, Norden Huang, and other colleagues were in the process of writing in which they attributed the stair-step behavior in the rate of global warming, including the current hiatus, to Atlantic multidecadal variability. I was initially a bit skeptical, but in time I began to appreciate the merits of their arguments and I became personally involved in the project. The paper (Wu et al.) encountered some tough sledding in the review process, but we persisted and the article finally appeared in Climate Dynamics three years ago. [See Judith Curry's helpful discussion.]
The new paper by Tung and Chen goes much farther than we did in making the case that Atlantic multidecadalvariability needs to be considered in the attribution of climate change. I’m glad to see that it is attracting attention in the scientific community, along with recent papers of Kosaka et al. and Meehl et al. emphasizing the role of ENSO-like variability. I hope this will lead to a broader discussion about the contribution of natural variability to local climate trends and to the statistics of extreme events.
Carl Wunsch, a visiting professor at Harvard and professor emeritus of oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offered a valuable cautionary comment on the range of papers finding oceanic drivers of short-term climate variations.
He began by noting the challenge just in determining average conditions:
Part of the problem is that anyone can take a few measurements, average them, and declare it to be the global or regional value. It’s completely legitimate, but only if you calculate the expected uncertainty and do it in a sensible manner.
The system is noisy. Even if there were no anthropogenic forcing, one expects to see fluctuations including upward and downward trends, plateaus, spikes, etc. It’s the nature of turbulent, nonlinear systems. I’m attaching a record of the height of the Nile — 700-1300 CE. Visually it’s just what one expects. But imagine some priest in the interval from 900-1000, telling the king that the the Nile was obviously going to vanish…

Variations in the height of the Nile River over the centuries.
Credit Carl Wunsch
Or pick your own interval. Or look at the central England temperature record or any other long geophysical one. If the science is done right, the calculated uncertainty takes account of this background variation. But none of these papers, Tung, or Trenberth, does that. Overlain on top of this natural behavior is the small, and often shaky, observing systems, both atmosphere and ocean where the shifting places and times and technologies must also produce a change even if none actually occurred. The “hiatus” is likely real, but so what? The fuss is mainly about normal behavior of the climate system.
The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up.
A lot of this is somewhat like what goes on in the medical business: Small, poorly controlled studies are used to proclaim the efficacy of some new drug or treatment. How many such stories have been withdrawn years later when enough adequate data became available?
Addendum, 6:30 p.m. | Ka-Kit Tung responded to Wunsch and Dessler in an e-mail.
Here’s his reply to Carl Wunsch’s reaction:
Carl Wunsch’s concern over the sparsity of the ocean data, as expressed in his recent papers, is mostly related to the part of the ocean below 2000 m (the abyssal ocean). He pointed out the signal in the abyssal oceans were mostly at least 500 years old. The signals that we are interested for the current hiatus of the past 15 years came down from above and have not reached the part of the ocean below 2000 m. We used only data above 1500 m and our case was made in Figure 2 of the paper using recent data with better coverage.
And Andrew Dessler’s reaction:
We did not predict in our Science paper that the current hiatus will last another decade or two. The statement that it will last another “15 years” was found in the press release by Science magazine. We were not given a chance to approve it; it probably was not their practice. In the paper itself, we discussed the fact that “historically” lasted 20-35 years. In our university’s press release, we emphasized that it is difficult to predict how long it will last given the changing climate conditions.
Dessler mentioned that there is only 1-2 cycles of this 60-year variability in the short climate record. We discussed this issue in our paper: The global instrumental record since 1850 contains only 2 and half cycles of this 65-year cycle. Tung and Zhou (2013, PNAS) extended it a few hundred years using Central England temperature data. We are currently reexamining Greenland ice-core data that extends the cycle back another thousand years. In addition, free-running models have produced this multidecadal cycles in their control runs (i.e. without anthropogenic forcing), although the latest batch of models have problems getting the period right.

Links :
  • The Guardian : Unpacking unpaused global warming – climate models got it right
  • Phys : Ocean circulation explains why the Arctic affected by global warming more than the Antarctic
  • Washington University : Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean



Thursday, August 28, 2014

US NOAA update in the Marine GeoGarage link

As our public viewer is not yet available
(currently under construction, upgrading to Google Maps API v3 as v2 is officially no more supported),
this info is primarily intended to our iPhone/iPad universal mobile application users

(Marine US on the App Store)
and also to our B2B customers which use our nautical charts layers in their own webmapping applications through our GeoGarage API

 NOAA raster chart coverage

18 charts have been updated in the Marine GeoGarage
(NOAA update August 2014, released August 15th 2014)

  • 1116A ed78 Mississippi River to Galveston (Oil and Gas Leasing Areas)
  • 11340 ed78 Mississippi River to Galveston
  • 11344 ed40 Rollover Bayou to Calcasieu Pass
  • 11392 ed8 St. Andrew Bay - Bear Point to Sulpher Point
  • 11452 ed23 Intracoastal Waterway Alligator Reef to Sombrero Key
  • 11505 ed5 Savannah River Approach
  • 11542 ed19 New River;Jacksonville
  • 12224 ed26 Chesapeake Bay Cape Charles to Wolf Trap
  • 12226 ed19 Chesapeake Bay Wolf Trap to Pungoteague Creek
  • 12283 ed29 Annapolis Harbor
  • 13326 ed14 Machias Bay to Tibbett Narrows
  • 14970 ed27 Marquette and Presque Isle Harbors
  • 16436 ed11 Shemya Island;Alcan Harbor;Skoot Cove
  • 16587 ed3 Semidi Islands and Vicinity
  • 17367 ed12 Thomas. Farragut. and Portage Bays. Frederick Sound
  • 11356 ed41 Isles Dernieres to Point au Fer
  • 11528 ed1 Cooper River Above Goose Creek
  • 13292 ed41 Portland Harbor and Vicinity
Today 1026 NOAA raster charts (2168 including sub-charts) are included in the Marine GeoGarage viewer (see PDFs files)

How do you know if you need a new nautical chart?
See the changes in new chart editions.
NOAA chart dates of recent Print on Demand editions

Note : NOAA updates their nautical charts with corrections published in:
  • U.S. Coast Guard Local Notices to Mariners (LNMs),
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Notices to Mariners (NMs), and
  • Canadian Coast Guard Notices to Mariners (CNMs)
While information provided by this Web site is intended to provide updated nautical charts, it must not be used as a substitute for the United States Coast Guard, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or Canadian Coast Guard Notice to Mariner publications

Please visit the
NOAA's chart update service for more info or the online chart catalog